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DJI Mavic Air 2 review: lots of quality, HDR and 4K video at 60 FPS and SUPER battery

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When Dji presented the Spark, the first Mavic Air and, subsequently, the Mavic Mini (which I personally appreciate very much), the message was clear: those who want to try their hand at the stability, safety and handling of the drones produced by the company must not necessarily buy a model of the Pro line which, in addition to the price, is much larger in size. Just think that given the very small size and weight, the Mavic Mini could really be piloted by anyone, with fewer limitations, in the face of sufficient flight stability and very good image quality.

Then came the new one Dji Mavic Air 2, the successor of the homonymous model of 2018, with which it seems that DJI has totally abandoned the strategy undertaken with the previous version, producing a UAS which could all agree, but which in terms of size and design is much more similar to the top of the range and, in some ways, also manages to improve them. And it manages to improve above all the first of Air, a highly appreciated product for which users have for years shouted loudly that they want more autonomy and a more stable connection: in response, DJI has improved both aspects, introducing a battery capable of guaranteeing 34 minutes of autonomy and adding technology OcuSync 2.0, the same as the Mavic 2 Pro which always uses WiFi but manages to guarantee a maximum range of 10 km in FCC mode and 6 km in CE mode: needless to say, however, that in real life these values ​​can only be dreamed of.

DJI Mavic Air 2 review

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Regulation: who can pilot it and where?

DJI Mavic Air 2 review

Let's go straight to the point, before getting to the heart of the review: given the weight and size, the Dji Mavic Air 2 it is not a drone suitable for everyone, especially if you take the new European drone regulation, which should come into effect very shortly (but which has been postponed for the emergency. COVID-19).

In any case, according to the current regulation and its weight on the ground of well 570 grams (and 200 grams are only battery) to drive the Mavic air 2 it is necessary to be in possession of the APD Pilot Certificate (Non-Critical Operations), achievable through an online exam, and the registration of the drone in the D-Flight portal with which you will obtain a QR code to be applied to the quadcopter.

The reality is that, however, the scenario of the regulation on the use of drones is still being defined and, often, there is the risk of making a lot of confusion, so to make things clearer I will try to schematize all the most important information, speaking of the currently active constraints, what will change with the arrival of the new European regulation and I will clarify point by point what is necessary to be able to pilot the new DJI drone. So, let's go in order.

The constraints of the current ENAC regulation are:

  • Fly at a distance of at least 150 meters from populated and manufactured areas.
  • Maintain a horizontal safety distance from foreign people of at least 50 meters.
  • Always fly in VLOS (visual of sight), that is, with the drone at sight.
  • Do not exceed a flight altitude of 120 meters.
  • Be in possession of a civil liability insurance.

The new European regulation could foresee that:

Il Mavic air 2 it will be part of category A2, and as regards category A2 it will be expected that it will be possible to fly even in the vicinity of people, maintaining a horizontal safety distance of 30 meters, which can be reduced to 5 meters by flying with a maximum speed of 3 meters per second.

The use of a transponder to be mounted on the drone will then be mandatory, but it is not yet clear how this obligation for drones weighing more than 250 grams will be regulated.

In short, the reality of the facts is that in the vast majority of cases currently no one understands much about regulation, so our advice is this: always fly in safety situations, as far as possible from people and, poco experts, with the drone always in sight.

And in summary, here are all the requirements to be met in order to fly with the Mavic Air 2:

  • Registration of the drone on the D-Flight portal (from the cost of 6 Euros one-time for amateurs and 96 Euros for professionals).
  • Registration owner of the drone as a SAPR pilot (free for amateurs, and at a cost of 24 euros per year for professionals).
  • Be in possession of civil insurance.
  • A1 / A3 license (from the price of 31 euros after passing the exam until 1 July, and 31 euros for each attempt after 1 July)

Package Contents

Il Mavic air 2 it is sold in two versions, which are distinguished from each other based on the quantity of accessories in the package. The cheaper version basically contains the new remote control, 2 spare sticks, a charger, a single battery, 3 pairs of propellers (therefore 2 more propellers), all cables to connect the smartphone to the controller and a USB-C cable for recharging the remote control.

Then there is the version Fly More Combo, which is the one we received on trial from DJI, which includes 3 batteries, 6 pairs of propellers, ND filters, a multiple charging station and a battery / powerbank adapter as well as a bag that in my opinion is very comfortable and useful .

Design and construction materials

Is small? No. Is it light? No. Just to get an idea, the old Mavic Air measures 168x83x49 mm, the Mavic Pro 2 measures 214x91x84 cm and the new Mavic Air 2 measures 180x97x84 mm. In short, it is almost as big as the Mavic 2 Pro, but what makes them very different is the weight: 430 grams for the old Air, 905 grams for the Pro and 570 grams for Air 2.

In short, it is as if the very meaning of the "Air" series had been lost, but it is also true that in fact the company already produces the Mavic Mini which, from the point of view of lightness and size is insumerable, and continue to focus on these characteristics also with the Air would have been perhaps useless.

Either way, the Dji Mavic Air 2 it is the drone soil that can be folded away. A structure that, let's face it, no longer surprises anyone, but which in the case of the company's new product will not make it transportable simply in the pocket, on the contrary. In reality, the footprint will be even greater than just the drone, because the new radio control is much larger and annoying to carry with you: in short, the solution is to use a carrying bag.

DJI Mavic Air 2 review

The presence of different anti-collision sensors is definitely interesting, which also makes it possible to use different traking modes of the subject. The point that most made my nose turn up is that those of Dji have well thought of not inserting side collision sensors: several times, testing the follow while I was in the car, I risked that the drone crashed into a tree precisely because did not detect the presence of objects laterally. In short, despite the APAS3.0 system, which constantly maps the environment and should be able to understand where obstacles are and avoid them, it is always important to be careful and never take your eyes off the radio control.

Here are all the sensors integrated in the Mavic Air 2:

  • Lower Sensors
    • ToF Measurement Range: 0.1-8m
    • Hovering Range: 0.5-30m
    • Vision Sensor Hovering Range: 0.5-60m
  •  Front sensors
    • Precision Measurement Range: 0.35-22.0m
    • Detection Range: 0.35 to 44 m
    • Effective Sensing Speed: 12 m / s
    • Field of View (FOV): 71 ° (horizontal), 56 ° (vertical)
  • Rear sensors
    • Precision Measurement Range: 0.37-23.6m
    • Detection Range: 0.37-47.2m
    • Effective Sensing Speed: 12 m / s
    • Field of View (FOV): 44 ° (horizontal), 57 ° (vertical)

There are also a number of LED lighting, which I found very useful especially in night flights. Below there is one that can be activated automatically to illuminate the ground in low light conditions, or manually, while on the ends of the arms there are other 4 LEDs (two steady red and two flashing green) that will make visible in a clear and concise way the drone even at night.

New remote control - Dji Mavic Air 2

As soon as I saw the new remote control of the Dji Mavic Air 2 I immediately had a thought: it's ugly. It's big, it's almost square, and it has absolutely nothing to do with what we're used to with Dji's Mavic. In reality, however, as soon as I used it I immediately had to change my mind: it is among the most comfortable that I have ever used.

DJI Mavic Air 2 review

Also in this case the sticks can be removed and are housed in two recesses in the lower part, frontally there is the button of the landing point, the power button, the 4 LEDs for the battery status (which, by the way, guarantees without problems even 4 hours of flight) two shortcut keys (one of which is programmable) and the switch for changing flight modes.

On the back there are two other keys for controlling the recording mode and for taking photos and videos, while the transmission is this time entrusted to technology OcuSync 2.0, which promises insane distances, at least theoretically. Clearly, however, especially when it comes to WiFi, the real performance of the signal between the remote control and the drone is influenced by a series of variables that make it poco swinging. After taking off the drone in the garden of my house, for example, I lost the signal about 500 meters away but, clearly, we are talking about an area with high electromagnetic interference.

DJI Mavic Air 2 review

Not happy though, I went up to the mountains, in an area where there is not even the signal of the cellular network (and no operator), and I managed to control the drone in a stable way up to about 1 and a half kilometers: exceeded this distance , the drone disconnected and returned automatically to the starting point.

Either way, what I liked most about new Mavic Air 2 remote control is the superior positioning of the smartphone, which revolutionizes the driving flow making it much more comfortable and uniform. The antennas have been integrated into the block with which the smartphone will be tightened: the idea is good, and the absence of the two typical claws is decidedly comfortable, but in this way it will be more difficult to direct the signal. Which, however, is almost never necessary.

Photo and video

The reality is that when I saw the camera datasheet built into the Dji Mavic 2, I immediately wondered why the 586-megapixel Sony IMX 48 sensor was chosen and not the new IMX 689. Both models shoot at 12 megapixels in pixel binning, but in my opinion the performance of the new generation of the Sony sensor would have been an extra gear for the drone.

However, the IMX 586 is still a good sensor. It is not excellent, but basically it does its job well, especially in the many innovations that those of Dji have introduced in the photographic sector: 4K HDR videos (but only at 30 fps) finally arrive even in an Air and, listen, listen, Mavic Air 2 is Dji's first drone capable of recording video in 4K at 60 FPS with 120 Mbps bitrate. And the quality is so good, that I personally have always preferred to shoot in this mode, rather than using the snappier HDR at 30 frames per second.

DJI Mavic Air 2 review

To better simplify the structure of the photographic sector of the Dji Mavic Air 2, it is useful to schematize everything. Here is the camera data sheet.

  • Photo mode
    • Automatic Exposure Bracketing (AEB): 12MP, 3/5 Frames at 0.7EV Bias
    • Timer: 12 MP 2/3/5/7/10/15/20/30/60 seconds
    • SmartPhoto: scene recognition, HyperLight (night mode), HDR
    • HDR Panorama: Vertical (3 × 1): 3328 × 8000 pixels - Wide (3 × 3): 8000 × 6144 pixels - 180 ° Panorama (3 × 7): 8192 × 3500 pixels - Sphere (3 × 8 + 1): 8192 × 4096 pixels
  • Video mode
    • Normal (tripod, normal, sport), HDR, Slowmotion (FullHD 240 fps)
    • Hyperlapse 8K (path, free, circle, direction)
    • Quickshot (drones, ascent, circle, boomerang, spiral, asteroid)
    • Focus track: Point of Interest 3.0, Spotlight 2.0, Active track 3.0 (4K / 30fps, 2,7K / 60fps and 1080p / 60fps only)
  •  Photo resolution
    • Photos: 12 MP - 48 MP
  • Video resolution
    • 4K Ultra HD: 3840 × 2160 24/25/30/48/50/60 fps
    • 2.7K: 2688×1512 24/25/30/48/50/60 fps
    • FHD: 1920×1080 24/25/30/48/50/60/120/240 fps
    • 4K Ultra HD HDR: 3840 × 2160 24/25/30 fps
    • 2.7K HDR: 2688 × 1512 24/25/30 fps
    • FHD HDR: 1920 × 1080 24/25/30 fps

The lens used is a 24 mm fixed focal length equivalent with a non-variable f / 2.8 aperture, with a field of view of 84 degrees and stabilized by an excellent three-axis gimbal that does its job to say the least. poco admirably. Videos can be compressed in MP4 or HEVC, and saved on the internal memory which is 8 GB, or on a microSD to be inserted in a side slot: our advice is to buy one of at least 64 GB.

You can shoot at 48 megapixels, but if you want to take advantage of the brightness of the pixel binning you will have to settle for 12 megapixels, then there is an additional shooting mode called "Smart", clearly inherited from smartphones, which is able to recognize the scenes and also automatically activate HDR: the results, however, in my opinion are in some cases too "distorted" and will require a minimum of processing time.

DJI Mavic Air 2 review

In short, beyond the chosen mode, the photographs taken with the Mavic air 2 they are of good quality: the dynamic range is good, not very high, but still acceptable and there are also different panoramic photo modes that are made with 4 different types of poses.

There is also an 8K shooting mode in Hyperlape, designed to create 8K movies from 48-megapixel photos taken in succession and there are all the tracking methods of the subject for which Dji has become famous all over the world: there are 5, they are called Quickshot, certainly they are not new but with 4K at 60 fps they become even more spectacular.

DJI Mavic Air 2 review

The real news is in the Focus Track, that is, in the pursuit of a subject selected through the preview (which, however, only works with low framerates and not in 4K at 60 fps): the modes are three and they are all crazy:

  • Spotlight 2.0: the drone keeps the subject in the center while the operator can continue to pilot the aircraft.
  • Point of intrest 2.0: the frone rotates around the subject completely autonomously while the latter moves in the environment.
  • Acrive track 3.0: the drone maintains altitude dynamically avoiding all obstacles detected by the sensors, with fluid and realistic and cinematic movements.

Everything is managed by the application Dji Flight, which we learned about with the Mavic Mini and which, in effect, sends a decidedly clear message: the company wants theAir 2 is a drone suitable for everyone, and this is perhaps the reason why they decided to control it with a very simple app (perhaps too much for professionals), with which all the more complex controls that could get into have been eliminated crisis neophytes.

Battery life - Dji Mavic Air 2

My first drone, a Dji Phantom, had 10 minutes of autonomy and was a huge beast that didn't even integrate a gimbal and required the use of a GoPro. Since then things have changed a lot and not only from the photographic point of view, but above all as regards the battery: with the Dji Mavic Air 2 I managed to fly for about 34 minutes without ever landing.

DJI Mavic Air 2 review

And it's a show, let's face it. It means that with the Fly More Combo version you can fly for over 1 hour and a half! Of course, flight autonomy is another of those decidedly variable factors, which are conditioned by a series of external agents, such as the wind or flight modes, and it is clear that the higher you go up, the higher the energy consumption but if there is a certainty in this new drone it is that the battery runtime is more than convincing.

Price and conclusions

DJI Mavic Air 2 review

The price of Dji Mavic Air 2 and of 849 € for the basic version, or of 1049 € for the Fly More Combo version (which I sincerely prefer). This is a price in line with the strategy that Dji has been carrying out for years, and which is totally unchanged compared to that of the previous generation at the time of launch.

The reality of the facts is that the Dji Mavic Air 2 it is a "smart" drone and thought down to the last detail. It is the "middle option" of a lineup that continues to grow and change and although it is not the top of the range of Dji, it includes new features that are not present even in the larger and more expensive models. 4K at 60 fps totally change the effect of shooting from above, not to mention the presence of OcuSync 2.0 and the battery with excellent autonomy.

Would I recommend it to everyone? No. I would probably continue to focus on the Mavic Mini, a model suitable for many shooting conditions (I also flew there with a wind of 45 km / h) and certainly perfect for beginners but also for semi-professional purposes. But already from the first flight I made with theAir 2 I immediately realized how much the stability and the quality of Dji have still increased. In short, if this is Air 2, at this point the expectations for the Mavic 3 series become even higher.

Last updated the 29 / 11 / 2021 08: 38
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